Talented Pink adds color to classic tale
Milwaukee Ballet Artist Director Michael Pink and his family -- which includes his wife, Jayne, and their two small children -- flew into Milwaukee last December and within a week moved into their Bayside home. Their belongings, however, didn't arrive for four months. Luckily, because of the support of his new community and colleagues, settling in was still easy.
"Both my wife and I grew up in touring companies so we were used to arriving on a Sunday, opening our suitcases and calling it home," says Pink.
Pink grew up in England, where he also spent most of his adult life studying and choreographing ballet. He started dancing at the age of eight, and by 10 he was ready to attend boarding school at the Royal Ballet School.
In 1975, he joined the London Festival Ballet (now the English National Ballet) and stayed with the company for ten years. In 1987 he became the founding director of Ballet Central, the performing group of Central School of Ballet in London, and in 1988, Pink joined the Northern Ballet as the associate artistic director. It was here that he choreographed his first full-length production "Don Quixote" and gained the experience that prepared him for his position with the Milwaukee Ballet.
Pink heard about the artistic director position from a colleague in London who was working in Norway and ran into an old friend who grew up in Milwaukee. The friend had recently been here visiting her mother and heard about the open artistic director position. The colleague later told Pink about it, and the rest is quickly becoming history.
"This experience sums up the world of dance," he says. "It is such a small world." (And Pink will soon realize, if he doesn;t already, that Milwaukee is the same way.)
Pink has a myriad of responsibilities in his position. Most importantly, he must shape the artistic vision of the organization based on the aspirations of the dancers while balancing the expectations of the audience. He is also responsible for the Milwaukee Ballet 2, a rigorous training program for future professional dancers, as well as budgeting, allocation of funds, day-to-day operations, directing shows, training dancers and more.
Pink is currently directing the Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet." He danced in the performance five or six times throughout his career, and choreographed the show in 2000 for the Atlanta Ballet, but took a fresh approach with this performance.
"I'm trying to create a great sense of youth and impetuousness," he says. "Children do things as children do. They act on impulse. I wanted to get that feeling of abandonment, that feeling of responding very quickly to a situation."
Most importantly, Pink intends for the show to be accessible to the audience, which is his signature style, and for the audience to feel involved. This is tricky, because Pink believes the audience is the biggest difference between American and European companies, but he's taken on the challenge and succeeded.
"Romeo & Juliet" runs September 25-28. Go to www.milwaukeeballet.org for more information.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.